The Biden administration previously predicted Russia would invade Ukraine on Feb. 16, but the day came and went without Russian President Vladimir Putin’s troops crossing the border toward Kyiv.
State Department spokesman Ned Price responded to questions about the prediction during a Wednesday press briefing, stating that the U.S. still believes an invasion is imminent. While an invasion may not come tomorrow, or the next day or week, Russia is still behaving as if it is planning to attack, he said.
“If something doesn’t come to pass, it doesn’t necessarily mean that what we’ve been warning of is wrong,” Price said when pressed by a reporter on whether U.S. intelligence which suggested an invasion Wednesday was wrong. “In the best-case scenario, the Russians will have changed their calculus.”
Price added that the press hasn’t heard anyone from the Biden administration point to a specific date from a podium for when an invasion would occur. Politico reported last week that President Joe Biden told counterparts that Russia was planning to attack on Feb. 16, and multiple American defense officials reportedly shared the same view.
“What I can say is that the Russians over several weeks and in recent days, have put in place the assets, the troops, the material that they would need to undertake an attack against Ukraine at any moment,” Price continued. “We’ve been in that window for some time now, we will be in that window for some time until and unless we see de-escalation.” (RELATED: ‘It Is Your Job To Ask Questions!’: Reporter Asks Ned Price If Americans Should Trust Biden Administration)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky apparently poked fun at the prediction earlier this week, sarcastically telling the Ukrainian public that Russia was going to invade on Wednesday and that they would respond with a day of “unity” instead. Ukrainian officials have consistently countered that a Russian invasion of their country is not imminent, despite American assurances that it could come at any moment.
In the Politico report, officials said that a land invasion of Ukraine would be precipitated by cyberattacks. Ukrainian banks and government websites were taken offline Tuesday by cyberattacks, potentially of Russian origin.